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Clutching the Ladder of Development

European Sugar Reform in Poland

Dong Ju Kim

In the last two decades, privatisation has been slowly progressing in Poland. I examine the case of beet-sugar factories in western Poland, which were privatised between 1995 and 2003. As this process was coming to an end, reform for the European Common Agricultural Policy was implemented and, after Poland joined the European Union, the European sugar market reform started to take shape as a result of a global trade dispute on subsidised sugar prices. I recount the story of sugar factory privatisation and multiple reform processes from the viewpoint of sugar beet farmers, factory managers, and local rural experts from the province of Wielkopolska in western Poland. These accounts will show how sugar market reforms affected the aftermath of privatisation and factory close-downs, and how these experiences have prompted local people to think of being Polish within Europe, but reluctantly European within a global framework of sugar trade.

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Reforming universities in the Middle East

Trends and contestations from Egypt and Jordan

Daniele Cantini

This article addresses the core-periphery nexus by looking at some of the reform packages proposed in the 2000s in these two pivotal countries in the Middle East, Egypt and Jordan, as well as the resistances they generated. These reform packages include internationalisation and privatisation policies, as well as World Bank–sponsored programmes intended to enhance the higher education sector. These programmes are marked by a high degree of isomorphism with global trends: they belong to an unquestioned centre, with peripheries as receiving points of policies elaborated elsewhere. In this article, I examine some of the resistances they were met with in Egypt and Jordan and show how their translations were shaped by the logics of the local contexts so that they were rarely implemented. Looking at post–Arab Spring developments, the article reflects on the continuity of reform packages amidst political turmoil, and the ways in which these reforms are altering or reinforcing processes of peripheralisation.

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Waste and Powers

Political and Symbolic Effects Due to Privatisation of Urban Sanitation Services

Agnés Jeanjean

I would like to submit to you the idea that an anthropological approach to urban wastes and their corresponding techniques provides an understanding of the social mechanisms of articulation between the different spaces which exist in a city, as well as the construction mechanism or legitimisation of social positions. The continuing privatisation of public services, including urban sanitation services, for the pro t of big Western companies, highlights the consequences of globalisation through the imposition of technical systems.

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Gustavo Lins Ribeiro

Public higher education has been strangled in Brazil by personnel policies, fragmentation through privatisation and competition with a growing private sector. Central to the productivist turn in Brazil is the annual 'CAPES report' which ranks departments and determines their funding. The Forum of Executive Officers of Graduate Programs in Anthropology was created, years ago, to discuss problems regarding anthropology's teaching and research. Its efficacy depends on the political skills of its members to influence interlocutors. We need to understand the sociology of change around us and the power structures of the agencies structuring our field of action to be able to propose solutions.

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Social Quality in Slovenia

Emergent Individual Risks and Disappearing Fora to Discuss Them

Maša Filipović, Srna Mandič and Ružica Boškić

Slovenia is among those Central East European countries that have been undergoing rather turbulent processes, the so called ‘transition’, causing many profound changes in all societal domains. The ‘transition’ was basically about ‘leaving’ the socialist economic and political systems and ‘taking over’ the market economy plus parliamentary democracy. Backed by the expertise of the World Bank, as pointed by Ferge (2001), an optimistic ‘reform and privatisation’ rhetoric prevailed, promising improvements in terms of economic efficiency, political democracy, and personal freedoms. On the other hand, the institutional and cultural societal heritage – ‘the social factor’ in brief – was not recognised as having much value in comparison to the economic and political factors. Therefore, it is a great challenge to examine thus emerging social features in one of the ‘transitional countries’ and try to compare them to others. While comparisons between West and East European societies are frequent in their economic and political characteristics, their societal features have been much less discussed and compared. The social quality approach, used in this analysis, is opening up a great number of questions about various properties of societies. The major test for the approach lies in its ability to integrate the answers.

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Karolina S. Follis and Christian R. Rogler

In 2004, Susan Brin Hyatt reported from a roundtable session organised by the American Anthropological Association ‘a dispiriting picture of academic life in the early years of the 21st century’, due to, amongst other things, ‘the casualization of the academic workforce’ (Hyatt 2004: 25–26). Less than a decade later, Joëlle Fanghanel notes that the ‘increased casualization of academic staff [has] significantly affected the evolution of academic work and working patterns’ (2012: 5). Casualisation takes different forms in different academic contexts, from the ‘adjunctification’ of teaching in the U.S.A. to precarious grant-funded postdoc positions common in Europe and the U.K. and the efforts to introduce other forms of temporary academic employment in New Zealand (Shore and Davidson 2014) and Australia (Barcan 2014). Seeking to contribute to these and other current discussions on the future of research and higher education in the era of privatisation and funding cuts, Hana Cervinkova and Karolina Follis convened the panel Anthropology as a Vocation and Occupation, held on 3 August 2014 at the 13th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) in Tallinn, Estonia.

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Piet P. J. Houben

International comparative research and discussions on the social quality of policies for frail older adults are in need of a common conceptual framework. Such a framework is also needed because, due to the many innovations and the increasing professional differentiation and specialisation in the area of housing and care, more and more specialised professionals and organisations are operating in this area. The resulting differentiation in providers demands extra efforts to meet the multiple needs of frail older adults with a balanced package of products and services. As a result of decentralisation and privatisation, the co-operation between disciplines and organisations needed to achieve this has to be realised on increasingly lower levels. To facilitate co-operation and fine-tuning on regional and local levels, it is useful to develop a common language. Innovation and specialisation lead to an increasing differentiation in the allocation of products and services, which – in combination with the new information technology –creates a growing demand for an adequate ‘Main Menu’ that will facilitate the decision-making processes concerning the allocation of funds on all relevant levels. From a social quality perspective, it is important to ask the question what could be legitimate core concepts in such a ‘Main Menu’.

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Gunther Dietz and Laura Mateos Cortés

Multicultural discourse has reached Latin American higher education in the form of a set of policies targeting indigenous peoples. These policies are strongly influenced by the transfer of European notions of 'interculturality', which, in the Mexican context, are understood as positive interactions between members of minority and majority cultures. In Mexico, innovative and often polemical 'intercultural universities or colleges' are being created by governments, by NGOs or by pre-existing universities. This trend towards 'diversifying' the ethnocultural profiles of students and curricular contents coincides with a broader tendency to force institutions of higher education to become more 'efficient', 'corporate' and 'outcome-oriented'. Accordingly, these still very recently established 'intercultural universities' are often criticised as being part of a common policy of 'privatisation' and 'neoliberalisation' and of developing curricula particular to specific groups which weakens the universalist and comprehensive nature of Latin American public universities. Indigenous leaders, on the contrary, frequently claim and celebrate the appearance of these new higher education opportunities as part of a strategy of empowering actors of indigenous origin or African descent.

Going beyond this polemic, this paper presents the first findings of an activist anthropological and ethnographically-based case study of the actors participating in the configuration of one of these new institutions of higher education, the Universidad Veracruzana Intercultural (UVI), located on the Mexican gulf coast. This article examines the way UVI has appropriated the discourse of interculturality on the basis of fieldwork conducted in the four indigenous regions where the UVI offers a B.A. in Intercultural Management for Development. The study focuses on the actors' teaching and learning practices, which are strongly shaped by an innovative and hybrid mixture of conventional university teaching, community-oriented research and 'employability'-driven development projects.

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Tradition's Desire

The Politics of Culture in the Rape Trial of Jacob Zuma

Thembisa Waetjen and Gerhard Maré

This article examines the recent trial of ANC president Jacob Zuma, and how gender power was framed in respect to, and within, the politics of culture. The trial centred on allegations of rape by Zuma of an HIV positive woman many years his junior, who was also the daughter of a former anti-apartheid struggle comrade. All of these details were considered pertinent, not only to the legal debates about whether a crime had been committed, but also to the political debates raging around the nation's key challenges of high rates of sexual violence and the 'denialist' state response to devastating levels of HIV infection. Many Zuma supporters saw the accusation of rape as politically motivated and as evidence of an anti-Zuma conspiracy. In visibly smaller numbers, women's rights groups were present on the streets as well, trying to draw attention to the general problem of the nation's extraordinarily high rates of sexual violence and the general failure of the justice system to address cases of rape. The article argues that the fervour surrounding this trial, the burning political question of women's status was continually cast as a private matter: debates about relations between men and women came to be focused on issues of propriety, behaviour and etiquette rather than on questions about rights and power. In short, the privatisation of gender was effected through the politics of culture. As culture is politicised as a legal and secular 'right', gender is de-politicised to become a normatively 'private' and 'customary' domain. This is not merely a South African dilemma, but a dilemma which is con-concomitant to the social conditions of modernity itself.

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Eli Thorkelson, Guy Redden, Christopher Newfield, Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich and Marie-Pierre Moreau

‘devolutionary cycle’ of privatisation of U.S. public universities. While these universities have remained legally public, Newfield defines privatisation not in terms of formal legal status or ownership but in terms of practical ‘control’: who wields influence